The Bettani' (Pashto: بېټاني), also spelled Beṭānī or Bhittani, Bettany'Bittani is a Pashtun tribe located in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan and in Afghanistan. The Bettanis reside in a territory that is a buffer zone separating Tank District from the Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan Region. The Bettani tribe live in the Frontier Region of District Tank and in FR Lakki Marwat District of Khyber Pakhtunkwa. Jandola is considered the capital of the Bettani tribes in FR Tank. Across the Durand line, a smaller number of Bettanis are scattered in parts of Ghazni, Logar, Kabul, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces in Afghanistan. The Bhittani claim descent from Beat Baba (Baitan), the third son of Qais Abdurisheed, the founder of Pashtun. Bhittani are also referred to as Bitani, Bettani, Battani, Bhettani and Bhittani. Some of the Bettani tribes are residing in Hyderabad, India and United Arab Emirate (UAE) from last 35 years.
District Tank, FR Tank & FR DI Khan & FR Lakki
The area is mainly inhabited by the Bhittanis who have three sub-sections namely Tatta,Waraspon and Dhanna. The Bhittanis, as evident from their name, claim decent from Baitan, the third son of Qais, the founder, according to one doctrine, of the Pukhtoon race. They also inhibit F.R. D.I. Khan and F.R. Bannu, mostly the mountainous area on the borders of Tank and Bannu from the Gabbar mountain in the north to the Gomal valley in the south.
According to traditions, they were first living in Koh-i-Sulaiman, but the Ghilzais drove them out of their homeland and they settled where they are now. During the reign of Afghan Sultans of Delhi they enjoyed prestigious positions, and a large number of them used to serve in the Sultanate’s army.
Bhittanis tribe is divided in three sections: Tattao- at Jandola and Siraghar in the Dera Ismail Khan and some adjoining areas; Dhanna- on the Gabbar mountain and in the Bannu F.R.; Waraspun- inhibinting the F.R. Dera Ismail Khan and some adjoining valleys. Frontier Region Lakki is inhabited by the Boba, Bobak and Wargara clans of the Bhittanis. Most of Danni- inahibinting in F.R. Tank and some adjoining valleys.
The Betani are said to be named after their ancestor Beaṭ Baba (claimed to be First Pashtu Poet), who lived in the Altamur range of present-day Afghanistan, which is located between Logar and Zurmant, and he was buried in Ghazni. The Betani are known to have lived in the Logar, Zurmat and Ghazni area until the 15th century, but then they came into conflict with the Ghilzai, and the Betanis were expelled from the area towards the east. Some lineages succeeded to take control of Gabarḡar, which is located between the Bannu Basin and Dēra, while other Betani lineages migrated further northeastwards.
Organisation of the tribe
The Bettani tribe has three sub-castes, which are called Tattha, Wraspoon and Dhana. The Tattha is further subdivided into three clans: the Umarkhail, Aba Khel, Naimat Khel and Khaishi. The Dhana tribe is divided into Ali khail, Bobi, Waroki and Dadi Khel subclans. The Wraspoon subdivides into Mazyani, Tari, Chapli and Shakhi. The Bettani tribe includes between 200,000 and 250,000 individuals according to an estimates.
A large number of Bettani are also living in Balochistan province especially in Quetta Cantt (required research). They have been there for last 70 or 80 years. Nowadays they have mixed themselves with the Nasuran. They had built strong family relation with them. Although they have arranged marriages in between them, yet they still remain two different Pashtun tribes.
Members of Bettani tribe (approximately 18,000 individuals) are also living in France for nearly a century. They are now totally mixed in French culture. They basically migrated there during British rule in sub-continent in 1897. Members of Bettani tribe are also living in West Indies but they now call themselves Indians.
Hospitality is given importance and tea is the most popular consumable item. The tribe has demonstrated a keen interest in facilitating educational accomplishments of youth; as a result, several doctors of this tribe contribute their services in different parts of the country and abroad. Bettanis are patriotic and loyal to their country. The tribal youth are fond of sports, including traditional sports Hinda, Kabadi, Kath Kath, football, volleyball and cricket. Cricket and football is the popular sports among the youth. Bettani are fond of traditional dancing called (Attan, Tarai). During marriage parties, anyone can join the night dancing party without any formal invitation. Traditional drummers (Daman) hired during marriages to entertain the participants. The dancing of this tribe bit different from other Pashtun tribes. The people of every age can be seen dancing in night marriage parties. Similarly the female of this tribe are found of dancing particularly on the occasion of marriages but they do it within their houses, separately. The local female drummers hired for entertaining the females. In most of the marriages big launch offered to the relatives, villagers and participants of the marriage. While in evening close friends and relatives invited for dinner. During evening dinner drummers are playing drums and the relative and friends coming along with sheep or goat, it is called in Pashtu 'Balanai'. On Balanai aerial firing also given by the attendants on the entry in the marriage premises. The cousin marriages are common in this tribe. Tribal women are very found of wearing ornaments and jewellery of all type made of gold and silver. A lot of money is spent on the local ceremonies, particularly on marriage, death, birth and other ceremonies/festivals like celebration of Eid and performing Haj. Most marriages are arranged, and most people live in a joint family system.
Commonly eaten foods include ghee, a bread called aishal, beef, Painda, and boiled rice with Lassi, Potato curry, Butter Kari, Milk kari, boiled meat, Fried meat "Larmoon", Beef pualao, Chicken Pualao, Sweet rice (Zarda), Boiled Grains, wheat Halwa (Sweet), salt onion bread, sweet bread (Kakoray), fried tomato, fried eggs, tomato sauc, all kind of vegetables curry, makan and pure ghee. Drinks includes tea, lemonade and lasi (butter water).
Bettani tribe culture is different from other Pashtuns.
In minor matters, disputes are common, and sometimes ongoing for decades. On different occasions they also cooperate, and their internal matters are decided in three Bettani jirga (tribal councils) based upon the three subclans of Tattha, Wraspoon and Dhana. The rival families give complete authority to the three Bettani councils, and the council's decisions are generally obeyed, but in cases of opposition to these decisions, a family may be fined. If the dispute is of bigger nature between the tribes then the DCO, PA, MNA and Senators, Maliks and elders, sometimes from neighboring FRs/agencies also participate in the jirga to resolve the disputes. The people have to accept the decision made by the jirga. The jirga results are presented to the DCO for information and record. If any one of the party is not happy or satisfied with the decision made by the jirga then the grieved party can go to the appellate court and then the Home Department, who decides the case under the FCR. Traditionally the household head has a strong hold and decision-making power for the whole family. The wives are traditionally submissive to their husbands and the likelihood of divorce or separation in the tribal society is negligible. The Bhittani are the hereditary enemies of the Mahsuds, however, over the centuries they have joined with them during important battles against invaders. In August 2007, Bhittani tribesmen threatened a Lashkar against Mahsud tribesmen if they did not return 16 kidnapped Bhittanis. Mahsud raiders had to pass through Bhittani territory to enter the settled areas so Mehsud tribe always avoid any kind of clash with Bettani tribe.
Agriculture is a widespread source of income as the land is very fertile. Crops include tomatoes, sugar cane, wheat, beans, melons and other fruits and vegetables. Livestock, such as sheep, goats and cattle, are a primary source of income. Most of the aged tribeswomen work in fields with the other family members. Specially tomato is the main crop which cultivated in different areas including Ummar Adda, Maghzai, Tank Zam area and several other areas of Frontier Region and Tank. Many of the men of this tribe serve in the Frontier Constabulary and Frontier Corps. Many people of this tribe work as PTC and CT teachers in the education department in the frontier regions and Tank. Nowadays scores of Bettani tribesmen are engaged in business, trade, commerce, Government and private services and other respectable professions like medical field. The tribesmen are serving the country with a spirit of devotion and dedication.
Nearly 60 per cent people of the tribe are educated. Earlier people dependent only on the agriculture and livestock but now the majority love to manage education for their children. Several government Primary and few high schools and one college for boys existed in the areas. But still there is need to establish primary and high schools particularly for female students. According to my observation nearly 90 per cent youth of the tribe have basic education. But to poverty several people only limited to high and secondary schools. It is a good sign that the educated youth are broad minded and talented. I will request to our government to establish more educational institutions and technical education institutions in the areas.
Sur Ghar (Red Hills), a beautiful hill destination near Peeng Area bordering the South Waziristan Agency. Some of the tribes residing there permanently, while others just residing here during summar season to enjoy pleasant weather. The weather of Sur Ghar remained pleasant during summar. Another beautiful place is "Khuviya", a famous forest in the hills, popular for hunting of Teetar bird and Rabbits. Most of the locals Rabbits and Birds hunters visiting this forest and staying there for two or three days to enjoy Natural Beauty and hunting. Another, attractive place is Tank Zam, (a proposed small dam) a stream where hills water dividing in three streams. Another, prominent place is Shrine of Mama Peer near Umar Adda (a famous town in the Settled area), several people of the area visiting shrine of Mama Peer on daily basis and particularly on Friday.
The climate in the region is hot in summer, with high temperatures around 110 °F, and cool in winter, with low temperatures around 40 °F. The average annual rainfall amount is 10 to 11 inches, with most rainfall in July and August. The driest months are October and November. Most of the streams which originate from the region are seasonal and normally end up in the arid plains of District Tank. The region experiences hot summers and cold winters. The summer season is from April to October with June, July and August as the hottest months. The winter season is from November to March, with December, January and February as the coldest months.
The Bettani tribe are of the Hanafi sect of Sunni Islam.
- Din Faqir was a renowned freedom activist and took part in the violent struggle against the British raj. He was the only freedom fighter, who fought in parallel with Haji Amir zaali khan alias Faqir of Api till the end of the British raj.
- Rehmatullah bettani (Late) Provincial Secretary, KPK
- Dr. Muhammad Bashir Khan (T.D.Sc. D.D.Sc. D.Sc Dr. Rer. Nat, PhD Molecular Biology, Faculty Of Medicine and Dentistry University of Alberta Hospital, Canada, Member of European Synchrotron Radiation Facilities ESRF), Member of European Molecular Biology Laboratories(EMBL)) Vienna,(Austria)Europe. Member of Canadian light Source (CLS)
- Gulistan Khan Bettani Ali Khel (late) MPA
- Muntazir Bettani (late) a prominent Pashto Poet, writer of two Poetry books
- Visually impaired Singer and Poet Qutab Khan who wrot a book (De Zra Stargy) Heart Eyes
- Balland, Daniel. Encyclopaedia Iranica. BĒṬANĪ. Originally published on 15 December 1989.
- Gazetteer of the Dera Ismail Khan District 1883-84, Lahore, 1884.
- Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India II: North-West Frontier *Tribes Between the Kabul and Gomal Rivers, n.p., 1908, repr. Quetta, 1979, esp. pp. 363ff.
- Muntazir Bettani book Kuthab storay
- Historical Pashtu book writtern by Suhail Bettani "De Bettanu Tarikh" (History of Bhittani Tribe)
- Daily Dawn Newspaper
- Daily The News
- Daily The Nation
- Daily Mashriq
The Batani, Baitani or Bhittani 1935) "Powindah Bhittani" Notes on Nomad Tribes of Eastern Afghanistan Government of India Press, New Delhi, India, page 158.